Community Planning

Community Planning is a participatory process in which residents, property owners and other agencies and stakeholders develop a vision and objectives for their respective communities.

*NEW* - Area H (North) Community Planning Conversations

For updates on the Area H (North) Community Planning Conversations, visit the project page:

I Think My Community Should/Should Not Have Planning. How Can I Be Involved?

Planning is meant to be a collaborative process. The creation of Official Community Plans and Zoning Bylaws require information, feedback and review from the community.

Informational virtual meetings were held in 2021 for Electoral Areas D and E. Additional meetings are planned in 2022 for Area H.

Why Are You Hosting These Information Sessions Now?

In 2020, the RDCK Board passed individual resolutions brought forward by Chair Watson, Director Popoff, and Director Faust, who requested that Staff host these sessions in their respective Electoral Areas. This was in response to receiving interest from their residents in exploring land use regulations as a way to address community concerns around land use, growth and increased development. With increasing pressures, this is a good time to ask if zoning is the tool communities would like and, if so, where and what does that look like?

Where Can I Find Out More?

What does Planning Accomplish?

Planning addresses the use of land, resources, facilities and services in ways that secure the physical, economic and social efficiency, health and well-being of urban and rural communities.

Planning can be a way for the community to work with their local government to address local land use concerns including directing where new development should go, identifying where lands should not be developed, protecting rural character, water sustainability, private land logging, cannabis, short term rentals etc.

Does It Increase My Property Taxes If There Is Planning?

Planning is a service provided whether you have a ‘plan’ or ‘have no plan’ and does not result in increased property taxation. All Electoral Areas currently pay into the planning service as some land use bylaws such as the Floodplain Management Bylaw and Subdivision Bylaw are applicable everywhere in the RDCK.

Does Zoning Increase My Property Assessment?

Your assessment is completed by BC Assessment and based on the market value of your property as of July 1st of the previous year. BC Assessment has a professional appraisal staff and an extensive database that is periodically updated with information gathered through appraisal inspections. Municipal and provincial agencies inform BC Assessment of land title changes, building permit approvals and zoning adjustments. When determining the market value, BC Assessment appraisers consider your property’s unique characteristics, including:

  • The property's location, size, layout, shape
  • The location of the home
  • The view from the home
  • The size of the home
  • The age/condition of the home
  • Garages, carports, decks, pool, etc.
  • Comparable sales prices and other real estate market information

What Is An Official Community Plan?

An Official Community Plan (OCP) is a statement of the objectives and policies of the local government respecting land use in the area covered by the OCP.

OCPs include policies on:

  • Housing
  • Commercial, industrial, institutional, agricultural, recreational & public utility land uses
  • Natural environment
  • Sand & gravel resources
  • Hazards
  • Infrastructure such as road, sewer & water systems
  • Public facilities including schools & parks
  • Greenhouse gas emissions

Parts of an OCP can be specific to each individual community or can be directed to an overall framework for the wider plan area under review.

The making of an OCP is a collaborative process with extensive consultation with the public, local business owners, community associations, non profits, First Nations, school districts, and other government agencies.

The purpose of an OCP is to guide future land use decisions by local and provincial governments for the next 10 to 20 years. An OCP can be adopted on its own or with a set of regulatory bylaws to implement the OCP’s policies. The strength of an OCP is that all bylaws adopted after the OCP must be aligned with its polices. OCPs themselves only regulate land use with Development Permit Areas.

What Is A Zoning Bylaw?

If residents desire their local government to direct land use activities to certain lands and not others  or otherwise direct growth within their communities, that community would have to set up a regulatory bylaw. Zoning bylaws regulate how land, buildings and other structures may be used. Zoning bylaws may divide the whole or part of an area into zones, name each zone and establish the boundaries of those zones.

The following may be regulated within a zone:

  • Use and density of land, buildings and other structures
  • Siting, size and dimensions of buildings and other structures and permitted uses
  • Location of uses on the land and within buildings and other structures
  • Shape, dimensions and area of all parcels of land created by subdivision (this can include establishing minimum and maximum parcel sizes)

 Zoning implements the land use planning visions expressed in an Official Community Plan (OCP), as a Zoning Bylaw must be consistent with the policy framework adopted in an OCP.

Pros Cons
Can give residents a say in what land uses are located where in their community Can limit some individual property freedoms (land use, where structures can go, height, etc.)

Can prevent incompatible land uses from being next to one another (ex. A rock crushing plant next to a retreat centre)

Can discourage certain types of development (ex. Industrial activity in residential areas)
Can protect/enhance property values Can increase the cost of building new structures (ex. Screening industrial buildings)
Can create buffers between disruptive land uses and neighbourhoods Can present barriers for historic mixed use neighbourhoods in older communities
Can preserve existing neighbourhood character (minimum lot sizes, height, setbacks, etc.) Can limit development potential of previously existing land uses and structures if zoning standards become more restrictive (ex. Lot sizes)

Can help achieve goals and objectives of OCP by adding regulatory requirements

Can lead to a need for increased staffing to ensure proper enforcement


What Are Some Other Planning Tools?

If there is an Official Community Plan:

Regardless of if there is an Official Community Plan:

What Planning Bylaws Are Currently In My Area?

Some Electoral Areas have bylaws for their entire geographical area, some for partial areas, some none at all. Some Electoral Areas have an Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw, some only a Official Community Plan.

The RDCK has a public webmap that is a great tool for determining what may impact individual properties. You can take a look at whether a property falls within an OCP area, what zone it is in (if a zoning bylaw is in place), whether the property is within the ALR and much more. The ‘Community Planning Services’ Layer provides Planning related information while there are many other layers related to other RDCK Services. You can access the New Public Webmap from the RDCK’s mapping webpage:

You can find all of RDCK’s Land Use Bylaws here:



The content on this page was last updated December 8 2023 at 5:43 AM